MSG (monosodium glutamate) is one of synthetic food flavored used commonly. Prof. Kikunae Ikeda from Tokyo University, Japan, is the first man who succeed to isolate glutamic acid from Laminaria japonica in 1908. He certained that this substance is the key of deliciousness in dishes which could balancing the other four flavours (sour, sweet, bitter, and salty). Glutamic acid in form of MSG presumed has mechanism as flavor intensifier which could cause delicious flavor in meat dishes, comes from protein hydrolised process in our mouth.
Originally, MSG made from seaweeds. But nowadays, MSG are also made from gluten from wheat, corn, soy and sugar cane molase (dropped). The last material is which MSG made from synthetically in our country named Indonesia.
As a synthetic substance, MSG may give some disadvantages for our body’s health. Hiroshi Ohgura from The Horosaky University, Japan, stated that giving MSG to trial mice in long periode could give sight lost effect to them, cause retina disorder and eye neurons damage. The same effect could also happen in human if the consumption of MSG added in food run chronically. This substance even able to attach to our retina and damage it chronically and disrupt the ability of sensory neurons cell within our eyes to deliver signal to our brain.
If we consume MSG within our food for years, it can cause Chinese Restaurant Syndrom (CRS) which firstly revealed by Dr. Ho Mar Kwok in 1969. He found that CRS appears when the patient consumes soup with high content enough of MSG often. MSG level analisis in patients’ blood shows that MSG which exist in their food is not the only cause for CRS. It was presumed the existence of other chemical substance as metabolism result of MSG such as gama amino butyric acid (GABA), serotonin, and histamine is the other cause, too.
The other researcher, John Onley in 1969 stated that consumption of MSG in high dosis which it is around 0.5 g/kg body weight/day will give hypothalamus cells damage effect to mice, brain cells damage, retina disorder or causing glaucoma, encourage the incident of mutagenic/ birth impaired, fetal growth disorder, and induce the incident of cancer (carcinogenic agent). While the same bad effect for human still under hard discussion, under controversial debate, and has no clear explanation, epiodemiologycly MSG could cause the incident of hypertension, asthma, hypokalimia (less of kalium), diabetes mellitus, muscle and bone debility up to cause paralyze.
For the sake of the healthy of our body, reconsider adding MSG in our dishes should be wisely we do. Because of the harmful side of MSG despite the delicious flavor it gives has made the government of Singapore and UK made the regulation to prohibite the using of MSG in children and baby food. Thus, it should be a better way for our health in the future if we start to use natural flavoring as spices in our dishes instead of using MSG.